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Kuaishu and Kuaiban

Introduction of Kuaishu and kuaiban

Kuaishu and kuaiban are both story-telling and singing with theatrical rhyming. However, they have slight differences.

Although they are both performed with the same form of reciting and singing with a strong rhythm, and the words of their songs are complete and regular verse, they differ in styles, dialects, rhymes and tunes. Kuaiban or kuaibanshu which developed on the basis of kuaiban is a form that relates stories with complex plots and creates typical figures. Its items generally are medium' and full-length ones. -I-he melodies' words usually adhere to a strict pattern of lines and rhymes. Kuaiban items are usually short, and tell stories of a strong, rational and sentimental nature. It has a comparable free approach to rhyme called huazhe, meaning that the rhyme can change within a section of verse. Both kuaishu and kuaibanshu adopt the sentence structure of the seven-word antithetical couplet, but in practice the sentence form is free as long as there is no contradiction in the rhyming during the recitals or songs, and adding or deducting words is allowed. Different styles and dialects of kuaishu exist in various places, so there are many types of tunes. Examples are Zhubanshu in Shandong, luogushu in Shanghai and Kuabanshu in Tanjin,but the most renowned and influential is Shandong kuaishu.

there are also various styles and dialects of huaiban such as shulaibao,shugh and Shaanxi kuaiban. Both kuaishu and kuaiban have a very simple form of performance. The actor usually stands to recite and sing,accompanied by the playing of a small percussion instrument which he holds in one hand. The items per formed by one actor or two, to more than three actors are called solo, cross rhymed dialogue and group rhymed dialogue, respectively The impromptu clapping instruments differ according to the types of melody. For instance, the Shandong kuaishu performer holds two small crescent-shaped bronze pieces in one hand, the manipulation of which is called yuanyangban. For shulaibao, a kind of clapper ballad, or kuathen, two pairs of bamboo clapping instruments are used, one big pair and one small pair, the former composed of two bamboo pieces, the latter, of five pieces. The pieces are held together by string. KuaiShu and kuaiban adopt the approaches of Chinese traditional poetry and rely on rhetorical skil1s such as parallelism, alliteration, rhyme,metaphor, harmony and ambiguity.

Gao Yuan jun and His Shandong Kuaishu

Story of Wu Song

Gao Yuanjun (1916-1993) was the most famous performing artist of Shandong kuaishu. He was a native of Ningling County, Henan Province.He started to learn kuaishu in Nanjing from Qi Yongli at the age of 14.Shandong kuaishu was then popularly called "WU the Second" or "telling stories about the big fellow," for the story-telling artists mainly performed the story of Wu Song's fight with the tiger, a figure in the classical novel outlaws of the Marsh. In the 1940s, Gao often made radio broadcasts and records of his performances were made. In the course of time, kuahou became divided into two major schools: One is that of Yang Lide, being called the Yang school and based in jinan, Shandong Province; the other is that of Gao Yuanjun, based in Beijing and called the Gao School. However most Shandong kuaishu artists in various places in China belong to the Gao School.

As Gao Yuanjun performed in many places in his earlier years, he became experienced and knowledgeable. Apart from collating and re-editing some items from the traditional repertoire, he also compiled and staged some items reflecting the modern life of new China. His representative works include the Local Tyrant, Zhao Kuagh Riots in the Ma Family store, A Cartload of Sorghum and killing Luan ping by Strategy The most important representative item is the gth,16-chapter, Story of Wu Song Story of Wu Song tells the life of the hero from his birth to how he was forced by cruel officials to become an outlaw. The story is full of humor, and exudes a clear sense of right and wrong. Gao often performed the episode Wu Song Fights the Tiger, which is also called ML for ping for it was one of the most popular episodes. The whole script was published by the Chinese Quyi Publishing House in 1987. Gao Yuanjun's narrative and singing styles are relaxed and witty. Shandong kuaishus language is full of local flavor, so his performance makes one feel that it is very simple and intimate. Gao has written books Such as A Random discussion on Shandong Kuaishu and Shandong Kuaishu and I The scripts compiled and performed by him, have been published in a book entitled Selected Items of Gao yuanjun b Shandong heishu.

Li Run jie, Founder of Kuaibanshu

Li Run jie (1919-199o), a native of Tianjin, was a leading performer of kuaibanshu He learned shulaibao or kuaiban in his earlier years, and also learned xiangsheng and pingshu for a time. Not long after the founding of New China, he joined the Tianjin Quyi Troupe. He created a new type of quyi which he called kuaibanshu, on the basis of shulaibao and by incorporating the good points of Shandong kuaishu and xihe dagu For years he wrote and performed about one hundred items. His representative works include in visible Grass, Storming a Condemned Criminal Van, Night Raid on jinmen island, Storming Prison by Strata Casting a Sword and Paean to the Anti-flood Fight His performing style is ardent and rich, with a lingering charm. The music and lyrics he wrote are collected in the Selected Works of Kuaibanshu by Li Runjie in three volumes.

Li's writings are characterized by a wide range of themes, Succinct language and having a sense of philosophy. His short kuaibanshu piece Swom Brothers, which exposes hypocritical loyalty, is a good example.

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